Sunday, January 30, 2011

Better Off

I did a paper in school the other day about the demographic of my city.  I found it really interesting that my city, Troy, Michigan, was much more affluent than the average city in the U.S.

This got me thinking, I'm a really lucky person.  I mean I live in a place that the average human being on this earth would be envious of.

The thing is, how often do I notice how lucky I am?  I mean I watch the riots in Egypt and I am forced to think again about how lucky I am that I live in a place that I am allowed to have a peaceful demonstration about, just about anything.  I live in a place that I don't at the moment, feel I need to protest in any major way.

Although, I'm not like, singing, 'I love America' all day long, I would say I'm pretty lucky to live in a country that at least proposes to be pretty free.

The sad truth is that most of the population in most countries is living with less then I am living with.  A lot of this population is living with a lot less.  Much of this population is also living in countries that are not 'free.'

I don't know the exact statistics of these things, but I do know that I have been blessed with a silver spoon, yet I still somehow seem to feel my life has been plagued with problems.

If someone from the slums of Detroit were to look from the outside at my parents house (where I'm staying this month because my mother is away) this person might be surprised that we have 'real' problems.  Maybe they would laugh at our problems.

I wish sometimes I could look at my life from their perspective.  As I stated in a previous post, there was study done that proposed that it only takes $75,000 for a family of four to be happy.  That seemed like a small number to me, but much of the world's population doesn't even have that much.

So what am I so worried about?

It seems to me that since I don't really have to worry about 'survival' in a base sense then all my other worries are not really important.  I mean I have to worry about surviving in some sense of the word, but I have so many people in my life that would back me up if I needed it.

So tell me, what are you worried about?

Do you worry when you walk out your front door that you will get mugged or in some way hurt by someone you don't know?  Are you worried you may not be able to afford groceries this week and don't know what you will feed your kids?

If you said no to these things, than maybe you also don't have it so bad.

I am aware that everything is relative, and you can't always compare your problems with anyone else's because it's just a different ball game.

But the fact remains that we are much better off than many people and to take a minute and appreciate that might make us a lot happier.


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Shaving: To do or not to do?

Can you believe it, Monique shaved her legs?

It's kind of crazy when you think about it, that we shave or legs in the first place.  I mean god keeps giving us hair, and even when we try to get rid of it, it grows back.  It's not like your arm or leg grows back if you cut it off.  There might be something special about hair.

Or maybe not.  

Maybe hair is just there on our legs and arms for no reason at all.  In some religions, like Sikhism, hair is considered sacred.  They say that there are vibrations that are felt in the hair follicles while doing meditation that make our spiritual experience even greater.

Or for some it is an identity thing.  Some Sikhs wear long hair to show that they are Sikhs.

But most of us in the western world want to get rid of all hair in almost every part of our body.  

We want to essentially look like something we don't naturally look like.  We want to look manufactured, like dolls.  

I am also guilty of this behavior as well.  I just wonder sometimes, if it is worth it to be so concerned about looking like something man-made.  

And it is because of men.  I read somewhere that what turns off men the most is unwanted and 'unsightly' hair on a woman's body.  

On the one hand I understand that it is actually natural to want to be attractive to men, but on the other hand I feel like we have become slaves to what men want.  

So where do we draw the line and what do we do?  I think we do what we want to do.  If you don't want to shave, then I think, more power to you.  If you do want to get rid of some of the hair on your body, than that's your choice.

However, you should not be made to feel bad whatever way you choose.

Now back to Monique, she was taunted in the tabloids about her choice not to shave her legs.  She seems though a strong enough woman that these type of things would not bother her.  I think it just felt right to her to shave her legs at this moment and she went with it.

We should all be so bold as to do whatever we want when we want.  


Friday, January 28, 2011

Dreams as Reality

Now most of us dismiss dreams as just dreams, fairy tales so to speak.  They are neither here no there and if they mean anything at all, they are about our subconscious desires.

But what if dreams are some sort of reality?  Maybe a parallel reality than the reality we know, but reality none the less.  There is a theory that I read in the Huffington Post by Robert Lanza that is really convoluted and confusing, so I won't even try to break it down, but this is what I got out of it:  If we think it, it is real.

We think dreams.

Since our reality that we have in 'real time' is so much about our perception and the way we experience things that the reality we have in dreams is much the same.

We have no idea that dreams are not occurring on some spiritual plane of existence that we have no idea about.  I believe there are dimensions out there that are way beyond our understanding.

However, that doesn't explain why dreams are so weird.  I mean I have this re-occurring dream that I go back to high school after grad school and I pretend to be sixteen again and I nearly fail out of high school this time.

What's interesting is that the same friends I had in high school are there with me, and there is no explanation of that in the dream.  In fact I wonder how this could be in the dream itself.

It's just that dreams point to the fact that we are weirdos.  Our subconscious or whatever you want to call it is illogical and strange.

Like I had a dream last night and one minute I'm getting chased by people who want to re-sell my furniture to the Salvation Army and the next minute I'm drowning in a pool full of really well built men.  What the hell does that mean, and why?  Why?  Why?

Why would I think such crazy thoughts that have no logic or basis to them?  Why is everything everywhere?  But, why is there small details like the color of the carpet?  Who drew in all the details?

Did you see Inception?  That is truly interesting film about dreams.

In that film people could enter each other's dreams and influence their thoughts.  The idea in the movie doesn't seem that far from reality.  They also point to a life in dreams that exists in time, that you are living in a dream for a certain amount of time.  I don't remember the ratio, but like 5 hours in human time would be equivalent to like 30 hours in dream time or something along those lines.  I don't even know if I got that right at all, but the notion is that the time you spend dreaming FEELS like a lifetime.

I mean you can experience like a year in one dream, and you probably have.  Does that year feel like a year while you are dreaming it?  Sure it does because dreams feel real.

Some say that reality is just a feeling after all.

But most of us want reality to be much more predictable.  We want it to make sense.  However, does our reality make more sense than dreams?

If you turn on the television, a replica of reality and surf through the channels you will find that it is just as weird as your dreams.  On the one hand you will find Jerry Springer with two lesbian mothers who entrap a father into donating his sperm and than they all fight like cats and dogs on the screen.  Then you switch the channel and there are protests in the Middle East, these protesters are using Facebook and Twitter to get thousands of people rallied up to protest their governments.  Then switch the channel one more time and you will see two people intertwined in a bed saying smooth talking cliche's to one another as they pretend to make love, this would be your soap opera.

Our reality may be just as twisted and 'unreal' as our dreams.

So the next time you dismiss your dreams as silly and inconsequential, remember that your life may be the same.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

What is Happiness?

Well here is my favorite topic again...happiness.

Oprah did a show today about happiness, one thing that was inspiring is that people were surveyed and it was found that people who make $75,000 are just as happy as people who make a million dollars.  Somehow they found that it really doesn't matter how much money you have.

They said if you had $75,000 and a family of four, you would be just fine, happy in fact.  Doesn't that seem a little less than you thought?  I always thought a family of four these days requires quite a bit more.  But apparently as long as all the essentials of life are covered, you will be happy.    

I guess we could have all theoretically known  that, but when it comes to reality, to really understand that it doesn't matter how many things we have or how big our house is or how new our car is, well I think that I would be happier if I had the money to spend right now on an Ipad.

I don't know why I think this particular "thing" will make me happy when I know that nothing I own in particular, including the very machine that I use every day, this computer, really makes me happy.  I don't know what I would do without this machine, but I would live.  I could write with a pen, you know.  I could use the library computers.

There was a time I did not have a lap top and I used to write in journals and then use the library computer at school to complete my work.  I think, just maybe, I was just as happy then.  I would walk around and feel like I was free and could write anywhere.  I would literally sit in the middle of Macy's in New York, my favorite place to be, and just look around at all the beautiful clothes and it would inspire me to write in my journal.

I didn't need a machine then, it didn't even occur to me that I did.

In the study that Oprah was talking about, they found that Special Education teacher's were the happiest out of all people in any profession.  They found that anyone who spends at least eight hours a day with some kind of social interaction is happier.

Those teachers don't make very much money.  However, they are probably fulfilled because they are really helping those kids.  And when one of them really learns something, it must be the most satisfying feeling.

The things that really matter are as follows according to Oprah: 

Did I marry the right person? Do I like my work?  Where do you live?  Are you connected to your community? 

Showing up once a month to club is equal to the doubling of your income in terms of happiness.

Isn't that crazy, that doing something so little can boost your level of happiness so much.  They say it is because you are getting to know new people and expanding your social circle. 

The survey that they did also says that getting to know your neighbors is really important, in fact it says that those who know their neighbors are generally happier. 

Also, finally, the study suggests that the more sex you have on a regular basis can really influence how happy you are. 

The great thing about this study is that none of things that we often think we want, material things, are a factor in our true happiness.  That means that almost anyone can be happy.

That means that you or I can be happy.


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

New Gender Roles

It seems like almost every post I have done in the past few days has been about sex in some manner. 

Well here I go again....

There is a new study posted on about how men and women are changing their roles since more women are becoming successful in college and in the workplace.  There are apparently more women in college then men and more women earning a lot of money right away in jobs.

Apparently this has all made the sex game very interesting.  According to this study, even though women are more successful men are getting more sex and giving less commitment. 

It seems to me that this points to the fact that women will never win. 

We can again be smarter and faster, but again some form of male aggression has to take over.

In this case it seems that men are taking advantage of the availability of sex, educated women are less traditional and "giving it up" more easily however the men are not giving any form of commitment.

They say that this doesn't mean that successful women are not getting married, they are.  It's just when they are in the dating game, they are not always getting what they want.  It seems that women are competing for men, when it was the opposite not too long ago.

It seems like women are never given a break and we are never given the ability to 'have it all.'

So what is success if being successful means that women are having a harder time with relationships?  Relationships are the most important thing to most women, all types of relationships, we are beings that focus on our relationships with other people. 

The one relationship with a man is one of the most important out of these relationships that women value. 

I think it is rather barbaric that men who feel inadequate because a woman is more successful then them will use sex to take out that feeling of inadequacy.  The men are getting as much sex as they can supposedly and not giving women the kind of quality relationships they are looking for. 

Again we have a shift in power, but the power of sex seems to be very strong still.  It seems like women will always get the short end of the stick in life.

This makes me sad.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Is Rape Natural?

In many studies they do 'they' have come up with this notion that rape is an evolutionary and 'natural' phenomena.

Now I don't disagree that we are animals and that in the animal kingdom rape is very natural.

However, as human beings, we don't participate in barbaric activities that are 'natural' for a reason.  We don't kill each other for no reason, or for what we conceive to be a good reason.  Animals kill when they feel threatened or when they want to threaten.

Anarchy, would be another natural thing that occurs in the natural world.  However most of us don't subscribe to the notion of anarchy because there would be a lot of rape and pillage for no reason at all.

The very fact that you are on a computer right now as opposed to say, hunting and gathering points to the fact that we are not following the 'natural' order that animals do.

There are by the way very calm cool and collected animals that are not mean and aggressive.  I can't give you an example because I'm not that familiar with the animal kingdom, just trust me, I've read about it, there are many animals that are much calmer and peaceful than human beings.

But we are always comparing ourselves to like apes and lions, we are always looking at animal societies that are aggressively patriarchal.

We don't really know what is 'natural' for human beings and what is not.  Maybe we create what is natural.  It could be natural to live in complete peace.

It's definitely not natural to have guns and bombs.

So if you are not gonna give up your guns, I'm not gonna give up the idea that rape is a crime.

Some say love is not natural, but if you try to get a cub away from his mama bear, it's natural.  Rape is the opposite of love.

It's not natural in my eyes.


Monday, January 24, 2011

Selling Sex

The women are not always full grown women yet.  I said that any woman who had menstruated should be called a woman, but in this case, I take it back, these are girls.

Some of them start as early as twelve years old.  Do you remember what you were like when you were twelve? I remember the most devious thing I ever did when I was twelve was skip school and play cards with my best friend all day.

These girls don't go to school.  They instead have learned about life through the school of sex trafficking.

Sometimes there are two, three, up to five men in one day.

Do they choose this?  They usually run away from home because they can't stand the confines of home and school. Yet they in return, have submitted themselves to a life of sex slavery.

If they try to run away they are beaten.  If they hide any money they are beaten.

They say it's the oldest profession in the world.  But twelve year olds are not supposed to have a profession.

What really gets me is that these men who are the pimps are so easy to catch, CNN was able to catch a whole hoard of men just by putting up a fake profile.

Everyone knows this is happening.  No one wants to deal with it.

Well I do. I think it's time we talk about why we allow the oldest profession in the world employee underage girls.  I suppose if a woman is of legal age then she can make a choice as to whether or not she wants to sell her body, but the girls, it's their only choice.

Maybe no one chooses this, it chooses them.

The girls and women usually have been victims of sexual abuse.

They are young, naive, easily manipulated.

They are "Sluts, Hoes, Whores." But most of them were victims of sexual trafficking as girls.

They are sold online, on these very computers that you are staring at right now.

Some say it's rape after rape after rape.

Beatings and rape.

"Sex is not as sacred as it once was," one woman laments as she talks about how she started when she was thirteen years old. -CNN

It's one of the saddest, most horrific and disgusting things that is happening in our country today.

Yes it's also happening around the world.  But they don't always enforce the law the way we do in the United States.

There is a way to control this.  Heavier penalties for those who buy sex, sell sex and even penalties for the women who sell themselves.

I'm sorry girls, but our daughters need to see that there are consequences that go beyond the loss of dignity, that there are legal consequences.

But it takes a village, so maybe we should think about the nature of this village that we live in.


Sunday, January 23, 2011


I was walking with my dad outside of the mall today and I mistakenly said to him, "Dude it's cold."

I called my father Dude!!!

Dude what's up with that?

It reminds me of the time when not too long ago John Stewart interviewed the president and in jest he called him, Dude.

The media was a buzz about the whole thing and claimed that it was disrespectful to call the leader of the Armed Forces, Dude.

But come on dude, the thing is he is a human being.

I am reminded of the film, The King's Speech, a true story, where the King's therapist refuses to call him, 'Your Majesty' and calls him by his household pet name.  He also, at one point in the film, sits on the king's thrown, saying something like, "Well it is just a chair."

I love it.

I love when authority is questioned.  I mean we in America question all types of authority, but we are a little hesitant about calling the prez Dude.

Why do you think that is?

We forget that the president was just a regular dude before he swore into oath as the leader of the free world.  We forget that our father is our friend, and if we call him dude, maybe it is out of affection.

What is the fine line between affection and disrespect? I mean I think that it's kind of interesting that everyone has to say, "Mr. President" to the president's face while possibly calling him an asshole behind his back. Same is true of your father, you may call him "Dad" to his face but what do you say about him behind his back?

There is the notion that these titles like President and Dad are well earned.  But one of the first things that our forefathers got rid of when they made the Constitution was titles of nobility.  'President' is sort of a title of nobility, don't ya think?

I wish I could write the president a letter addressing him as 'Hey Dude.'  I'm sure if I did that it would never be read by his staff and never taken seriously.

The problem with titles is that we lose some of our friendliness and familiarity with a person we have to always refer to with a certain title.  I'm sure if I could call my dad, 'Shani' his nickname, maybe some of our barriers would break down.  I know it's just a name, but there is a lot of power in a name.

I once broke down some serious barriers when I called my own mother a b--- to her face.  She will never forget it, she will never let me forget it, and I will always regret it.  Of all the names I could have chosen to call her, that was the worst one.  I'm sorry Mama.

The thing is sometimes I want there to be titles that are used properly.  I think any woman who has started menstruating should be addressed as a 'woman.'  Not a 'girl.'  I feel like it is an issue of respect.  I also think that the word, and I use this word very cautiously because it's nasty, but the word, 'cunt' should never be used to describe a woman because of the sheer fact that is disgusting.  'Lady' is one of those words that it really matters who says it, like "Get out of my way, Lady," is not nice.  "Give the Lady what she wants," is nice.

I know I'm being biased here, not being objective.  Well screw objectivity, this is just the way I feel.  I never claimed to be a journalist in this space. I feel that some titles are necessary and some can be played around with. In all seriousness I think they can all be played around with and have loved when someone said to me with affection, "Giiirl, do you know what I'm talkin' about?"

Sometimes we gotta stop being so formal.  Like for instance, we are usually very formal when addressing god.  Very few of us say, 'Dear Dude' when praying.  But the thing is, god doesn't really have a title or a name that isn't man made.  If we could talk to Him on the level that we talk to other Dudes, maybe we would begin to break down our spiritual barriers.

Sometimes I like to think that god is my friend and in jest I have used swear words like, "How could you f----- do this to me!"  Now it says in the Bible not to use the Lord's name in vain.  But I don't usually follow the Bible and I don't really know what 'in vain' truly means.

Just like the king's thrown is just a chair, Dude is just a word.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Jungle Fever

Remember that movie, Jungle Fever?  It was about a black guy having an affair with a white woman.  I remember one scene in the film where the man's wife, who has light skin, screams about how her husband thought he wanted a light skinned woman but really he wanted a white woman.

Well recently, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan was on the cover of Elle magazine and seems like they actually wanted a white woman, because they lightened her skin.  They did this without her permission and made her very angry.

I would be angry too.  Elle did not accept Aishwarya for who she is.

I mean come on, she is the most beautiful woman in the world.  If she needs lightening, than what do the rest of us need?  The magazine is perpetuating the notion in many communities that lighter skin is more desirable in a woman.

I know in my own Indian culture, where Aishwarya comes from, there is a very strong correlation between fair skin and beauty.

Obviously this is an obsession with the western notions of white women being the standards of beauty, yet it seems particularly offensive that a magazine that caters to Indian people would still try to sell this ridiculous ideal.

It's such an arbitrary notion that white is better than darker skin.  It has everything to do with power than anything else.  I suppose this is obvious.

I am a light skinned Indian woman.  Would I want to look any other way?


Not because I want to look white, which I don't, I just have fairer skin.  But I don't wish I was darker or lighter, I just wanna be me.  I think that's healthy.  I think we should all just wanna be ourselves.

If you are medium toned, which Aishwarya is, she wants magazines to just leave her skin the way it is.

I don't really understand why people are sitting out in the sun to be darker, but that 'tanned' look is also evidence of wealth and prosperity.  It means you can go on vacation, you have time to lounge and tan, you are probably wealthy and beautiful.

So light skinned people want to be 'tan.' And darker skinned people are given images by magazines and advertisers to get lighter skin.

Is it just me or do we seem like the idiots who are buying into this crap?

I was in fact confused when I was a kid because my Indian friends told me I was too pale and needed some sun, while my mother told me to stay out of the sun and avoid tans because I had beautiful pale skin.

What's a girl to do?

Nothing.  I stopped caring how 'pale' or 'tan' I am.  That is the least of my worries and out of all the things I have to think about all day, I have successfully crossed that off of my list.

Wanna try it?  It's very freeing.


Friday, January 21, 2011


So I found out about a good friend's pregnancy via a Facebook wall post.  I was not delighted.  I was a little hurt that she hadn't personally told me.

What is personally these days? A text? An email? A Facebook wall post?

I personally don't understand text messages.  It seems like your sending someone a telegram, but we don't send telegrams anymore.

I mean I think it's bad enough that we tell each other important things on the phone instead of in person.  Things about divorce and having babies-and when we say it over a text I feel like it loses all its personal touch.

However most people will tell you it's the most convenient thing.

Convenience means everything to people these days.  Convenience trumps personalization.  It trumps almost anything.

And yet do you remember when you didn't have a cell phone?  People couldn't get a hold of you for hours, even days.

I remember the good old days - in college - my parents wouldn't talk to me for like a week at a time.  Now if they can't get a hold of me in five minutes, they panic.

We are constantly trying to be freer, right?  I mean ideally, as Americans.  Are we really freer if every second of the day someone can get a hold of us?  People can even put a GPS thing on your cell phone without your knowing.  They can know where you are at all times without you even knowing.

What kind of life are we leaning towards?

Maybe we were a lot happier when things were less accessible, when things were simpler.  When you could walk around anywhere and no one could find you...


Thursday, January 20, 2011

What makes Me Unique

So do you ever think about what makes you unique?  Trust me, you are not exactly like anyone else.  There are always things that set you apart.

Good things.

One of the things that sets me apart from at least half of the population is that I'm a woman.  Now what does that mean to me?  It means a lot.

It means I will fight for the right to have rights.  It means I have to be stronger, better, wiser, and work harder than a man in my field of work in order to be recognized the same as a man.  It means I will get paid less than a man even if I do more work.  It means I can be raped, attacked, hurt, or stalked.

However it also means I have this beautiful sensitivity to me.  I understand people I don't even know, I have the capacity to understand men, women, children, and even some household pets.  I love passionately and I love intensely.  I may get emotional and cry and scream when I shouldn't, but I will take care of those I love with a real honesty.

Another thing that sets me apart from the crowd is that I'm Indian.  Now I know that there are like more than a billion Indians in the world and it hardly makes me unique, but I still feel there is something to be said for being from a beautiful country that is often misunderstood.

I have inherited the spiritual nature of India, and I often try to wake up early in the morning and meditate, whatever that means.  I enjoy the idea of family that is instilled in most Indian households.  Family always comes first, and I cherish that notion.  I also love the idea that I have come from immigrants and have learned to work hard from the immigrant mentality.

Another bit of myself that is particular to me is that I'm an Asian American in the Arts.  I chose to be a writer as opposed to the usual track of becoming a doctor, engineer, or lawyer.  There is nothing wrong with following the usual track, if you do you are probably a lot better off financially, but I enjoy my work nonetheless.  I enjoy the fact that I had to rebel against my culture and my family in order to pursue my passion.  I hope it pays off.

There is also a part of me that makes me particularly vulnerable, yet I think it adds to my creativity and ability to create art.  I have a mental illness.  I'm Bipolar.  This has often led to very trying times when I was out of my mind completely and did unmentionable things.  It has also led me to fall into a deadening and very dark depression at times where I could see no way out.

However, my insanity also led me to have a particular mind set and think outside of the box, or rather, put the box aside.  It has also made me appreciate life when I feel 'normal' and can function 'normally' I see beauty in every little thing because I know that I may lose it at any moment.

Lastly, I'm a Sikh.  Sikhism is a very unique and modern religion that teaches personal salvation through meditation.  It is a religion filled with the most divine music and poetry ever written, it is truly a rich and  beautiful religion.  I am lucky to be a part of it.

So basically I'm a Minority Sikh Woman in the Arts who has a Mental Illness.  There are a lot of things working for me and a lot of things working against me here.  But I feel like I would rather be set apart from the crowd then just be 'normal.'  I don't think that anyone is really ordinary or boring because of their particular stance in life, however it is particularly interesting to be on the borderlines as I am.

Sometimes I have to fight just to live.

I think that's OK.

I will fight the good fight.  

What's your fight about?


Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Isolation in America

Of course I chose the loneliest profession around, writing.  It's just me myself and I when I do this work.  That's probably the reason I want to go into teaching, because I like the idea that the classroom is a kind of community.

I feel like there is a lack of community in the United States and maybe even in the world.  I mean I live in a condo-complex and I have said "hello" to everyone who lives there, but I don't know any of them, I don't socialize with any of them.  I go to the same coffee shops and bookstores every day.  I find that the chain type of coffee shops, the ones that are so American, are where strangers rarely talk to one another.  It's only at the independent coffee shops that I find very independent people who seem to think of the place as a community.

We, in this country, rarely step out of our comfort zones to talk to people we don't know just because they are there.  Our community usually consists of people we work with, went to school with, or grew up with.  These are our friends.

Yet there are people outside of my circle that I would like to befriend. There is a very interesting looking man who works at Panera Bread, his accent tells me he's probably from somewhere in Africa.  He's a very dedicated worker who doesn't speak English very well.  I would love to talk to him so he could tell me stories about where he came from.  I wish it wouldn't be weird for me to talk to a man I don't know.

I'm not saying we should go around talking to every Tom, Dick and Harry for no apparent reason.  But it would be nice if we got to know our neighbors, the people who frequent the coffee shops and restaurants we go to.  It would be nice if it weren't "weird" to start talking to a complete stranger for no reason.

I love strangers, actually, a little too much I've been told.  When I first moved to a real city, Washington D.C. I was still naive and talked to anyone who would talk to me.  I met a man on the train who told me stories about how he worked for the CIA and knew secrets than even the president didn't know.  Of course it later occurred to me that he was probably lying because if he knew stuff even the president didn't know, why was he telling me?

Then there was the guy at the bus stop who started telling me about how is brother married a Mormon after he was let out of jail.  I suppose you shouldn't convict someone in your head because their brother was in jail, but he then told me about how skateboarding was his passion in life and that he wanted to skate board around the world.

Nothing wrong with that.  I think the problem that my friends had with me talking to complete strangers was that they could potentially be weirdos that could follow me around or stalk me or harm me in some way.

Yet I love the rush of meeting someone new.  I met a guy at the coffee shop recently who read my Tarot Cards.  I don't know if I believe in Tarot Cards or if I believe that this particular man could really read them, but is was fascinating to me that he had the guts to try and tell me personal details of my future.  I didn't pay him, I just listened.  I definitely learned more about him than he did about me.

Right now, because I'm a student and a writer, I spend a lot of time in coffee shops where people from all walks of life gather.  Most people are too busy to want to chat, but there are people who will bring out their laptops as well or bring a book with them and sit for hours.  Chatting with these people now and then brings me great joy, I love to get to know almost anyone.

Right now there is an elderly woman sitting alone, drinking her coffee and reading the paper.  I don't know why, but something about her mannerisms screams that she is lonely.  I want to approach her, but there is no language in our culture that allows us to just come up to someone and talk to them for no reason.

I don't know if there is a way in any culture, a way to sit next to someone and just say, "I understand."

Because the more we rely on our phones, our computers and our other gadgets, the more we disengage with the people around us.

Isolation can be a hop skip and jump away from depression.  So watch yourself.  And watch other people.  Look at them and wonder if you can maybe change their day just by saying hello.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011


My dad used to call my sister "tiger" when she was a little girl.  She's gonna kill me for bringing this up, I only bring this up because my father was what you might call a 'Tiger Father.'  He was strict, but hey, his father was stricter.  And we, me and my sister, do OK now.  We don't always agree with or will repeat my father's parenting methods, but we thank him nonetheless.  

In Amy Chua's latest book, 'Tiger Mother" that was excerpted in the Wall Street Journal, Chua chronicles the very strict and often scary mothering of her Chinese mother.  She also explores her own Chinese mothering methods.

Imagine if you "once told your own hyper-successful Asian American daughter that she was 'garbage.' That you threaten to throw out your other daughter's doll house and refused to let her go to the bathroom one evening until she mastered a difficult piano composition.  That you threw the homemade birthday cards they gave you as 7-and-4 year-olds back in their faces, saying you expected more effort."-The New York Times. Chua did all of these things.

Chua was pretty harsh. However, Chua got death threats from people who were so upset that she said that Asian American mothers were superior.

Death threats? it just me or is that a little harsh?

I'm sorry, is this worth threatening someones death for?  Isn't parenting a matter of choice?  What's next in the death threat pool, I wonder?

I don't even agree with this very verbally violent and bordering on abusive parenting style.  However if someone is honest enough to talk about it, I'm all ears.  I'm listening because I want to learn from someone else's mistake, even if that person doesn't think it is a mistake.

You see, my problem is not with Amy Chua's book, her opinions or her parenting style. My problem is that people are so violent and absolutely nuts and anything can set them off.

Yes I have a personal stake vested in this issue.  Yes I will probably write something that someone will hate, if I have not done so already.  Maybe I'll write an entire book that someone will hate.

Will I get a death threat one day?

What are you supposed to do once you get a death threat?  I mean come on.  On the one hand I would be flattered that my words could be so strong as to offend someone to this level of violence.  However when it comes down to it, nothing really is deserving of violence.  What are you supposed to do, keep looking over your shoulders every five seconds, or just pray that is all a joke?  How are you even supposed to live after you get a death threat?

I mean, a few days ago we were celebrating Martin Luther King Jr.'s life. We all got a day off because this wonderful man came into this earth and said that violence is not the way to get your point across.  The man was killed because he abhorred the very type of violence that caused his death.

When are we gonna learn?

We are not barbarians who need to kill each other for competition of food, but now we think it's worth killing each other over parenting methods?  Is this really happening?

Amy Chua is not advocating beating your children, she is simply pointing out that Asian American kids are really successful because their parents were really strict.  Sometimes these parents are mean.

I'm no parent or anything, but sometimes I'm mean.  I went to Columbia University to get a graduate degree, I'm an Asian American who succeeded in many ways due to my very strict upbringing.

All of this does not mean that I agree with Chua.  I however, love that she has the right to her point of view.  And she does make one very good point:  the Loosey Goosey I love you no matter what- type of parenting often leads to less successful children.

Why do we live in a country and world that is so afraid of the truth.  The truth is that if you want a successful child you can't always be the nice guy.  The truth is not fun.  The truth scares people.

And in turn they decide they want to scare the truth-maker.  Chua was simply stating her truth.

Who is next, I ask you?  The guy who doesn't like ice cream because it's too cold?  Everyone likes ice-cream, how dare he say it's too cold?  I want to kill him.

This is what we are going to be reduced to in a short while.  There will be no relevance to our violence.  (I'm not sure that there is any now...) People will be so scared to say things, say things that are true to them.

Chua was simply saying what was true to her.

If you want to kill her because of that, I'm sure you are one hell of a parent.


Monday, January 17, 2011

Indian Identity

Today I would like to thank Martin Luther King for helping me create what I consider to be my Indian American Identity.  What does that mean, you ask? Let me explain:

Fist of all, even though my skin color is a little different than the average person in America, I am still an American.  Sometimes it's hard for me to say this because when people look at me they see a person who comes from another country, yet I grew up here. This is my home. America defines me first.

Secondly, I still retain some of my parent's Indian culture, or I should say my Indian culture. I understand some of the language, I follow some of the religious rituals, and I like some of the food. Some of my values come straight from my parent's homeland, I find that I have slightly different values than the average American.

So maybe you want to ask me why I have to call myself an Indian American as opposed to just an American? Because often times I look in the mirror and I see a person with so many different dimensions.  I don't see blonde hair and blue eyes, but when I talk Hindi does not come out of my mouth.

The truth is I wouldn't fit in India even if I tried, I'm different than Indians in India.  I sometime hang out with Indian people in America just to feel like there is somewhere I fit in.

I am often between two cultures and have the right to define myself within the borderlines of these cultures.  Sometimes I don't feel Indian at all and sometimes I don't feel American at all.  I also have a unique religious identity as a Sikh.  Sikhs are a minority in India so I sometimes define myself as a Sikh Indian American.

When I walk around town, I'm one of those people who is mistaken to have many different culutral identities. People think I'm Arabic or Mexican etc.  I don't mind this at all, it makes me feel worldly in fact.

However, I remember a time when I didn't feel so worldly.  My uncle wears a turban and he was living with us in 1984.  There were huge riots in India during this time because two Sikh men had assasinated the Prime Minister of India, Indra Gandhi.  I suppose someone must have seen this on the news, since it was on the news every night.

It stared with eggs, they threw a few eggs at our window and we could hear laughter coming from outside.  Then, the next day, it was tomatoes.  And finally they threw rocks through our windows.

We don't know who did it. I remember feeling scared and hated and feeling ill.  I didn't really realize, at that age, that I was so radically different than the average person.  That we as a family were so different, different enough that people should throw stones.

I couldn't talk to anyone about it really, most of my friends were white at the time.  I just went about my business with this new feeling of uncertainty.  I felt like maybe, there was a chance, I did not belong in this country.

However, eventually I would read about Martin Luther King Jr. and how he helped make it so people like me would be accepted no matter what.  Of course he was an idealist, but so am I.

I know there are people who look at me now and think I could be the girlfiriend or wife of a terrorist, or something like that.  I think they think that I might be someone who doesn't speak English well even though I have two degrees in English.

The Civil Rights movement was not only for Black people, it was for everyone who felt like they had a place in this country, a place that was not being respected.

My place may look different than yours, but we share a space on this earth.  America may not look like other countries because of people like me, people who mix things up, and I'm proud of that.

I'm proud of who I am and I will be a part of this country, a part of this world, and I will force you to accept me.

Whether or not you like it, I'm here to stay.


Sunday, January 16, 2011

Should we Care?

You wanna know what I care about the most: me.  I care about myself first probably, I mean come on, let's be real.  My family comes in a very close second, I feel like I care about them more than myself, but I cannot guarantee that.  And then I care about my friends.  Are you kinda the same?

If anything bad happens to any of these people, especially me, I'm upset.  Why I should care about one more natural disaster or famine etc. in a foreign country sometimes bewilders me.  Sometimes I just don't care.

Does that make me devil-like, or just human-like?

I don't want to be like this, I want to care more, but sometimes I can't stand how every single day there is something going on somewhere to somebody.  I want to take a break from the world and escape in my own bubble.  The bubble of my life, where my people are.

I'm sure there is a lot on your mind right now.  You may be reading this, talking on the phone, eating lunch and thinking of your plans for a weekend getaway all at the same time.  You are worried about bills and relationships and maybe even your own mortality.  Then you switch on the news...

There was a huge flood in Brazil.  420 people are dead.  Most likely you don't know any of those people. You sit through that and see that there are food riots in countries all across the world because the price of food has soared internationally.  So the question is, should you care?  Should you worry?  Why?  Do you change the channel to Real Housewives of Atlanta or do you watch in horror as Wolf what's his name on CNN tells you about mass devastation?

There are tragedies going on all around the world every minute of the day. How many are reported on and how many are ignored often determines whether we care or not.  But let's for a moment trust our news sources and decide, should we care about natural disasters in other countries? Should we care about unfair wars in other countries? Should we care about tyranny and poverty in other countries?

Well the sad thing is, when Katrina occurred, it seemed as though our own government didn't care enough about it to do enough and left many people in horrific situations.  But is Katrina more important than what happens in Brazil?  Did you notice that people all around the world were concerned about Katrina, yet how many Americans will be worried about world tragedies?

I mean, of course you are gonna try and protect and be concerned about your own home first.  America is my home and when something happens within it's borders I am more concerned than I would be if something happened in India, even though my cultural heritage comes from India.

But should I even care about countries that I have no associations with? Should I spend that extra minute worrying about the people in Sudan? How much worry can I fill my brain with before it explodes?

Well, there is the notion that we are only using like ten percent of our brain, some say it's an urban myth.  But if it's true, than we can think and worry about all kinds of things at the same time.  You can worry about your waistline and at the same second be worried about those in the world that have no food.  We are capable of a lot more than we think,

Also, we live in a world, not just a country.  The boundaries that we have created between our land and foreigners land is sort of made up, they are not naturally occurring boundaries.  Even just raising awareness by having a conversation or reading a blog about what happens in other counties helps.

We may or may not care about what happens in other countries, but you better believe that other countries care about what happens to us.  You will often find that foreigners know more about what is happening in this country than we do.  I noticed this when I went to India a few years ago.

I wasn't in India during any particular tragic event, I was simply confronted with severe poverty head on for the first time in my life.  I'm not just talking about people who don't have homes, but people who don't have limbs because Leprosy has spread in their poor neighborhoods.  I'm talking about people who walk around naked and sleep in tents on the side of the road. Small children with sad faces begged me for food and money.

I did care when I was confronted with it.  I did care for the short time that I was there.  However my relatives
who live there sort of stopped being shocked by it, they didn't care as much as I did.  They were desensitized as we are when we watch the news.  However this wasn't just the news for them, this was the situation in their backyards.

None of these poor people were my relatives, of course.  Of course I could plainly see that they were not one of us and I was not one of them.  But just to see that every day when I woke up in the morning made me a little more humble. It made me appreciate my life a little more.  It made me think about what I want to do with my life, that perhaps I should think about lifting at least a finger for another human being.

Although I sit here and do nothing for anyone really, and I'm concerned about myself first, I would hypothetically like to help battered women and children in India find refuge and education in order to recover and prosper.  I have no idea how I'm going to help make this happen but even having the thought, writing it down, and sharing it, helps I think.

I don't think it is only the responsibility of Americans to help the world, but we do owe the world something since we eat up like an enormous portion of the world's resources just by being alive and going to Starbucks.

Do you have to care about people suffering outside of our borders? You don't have to do anything.

It would be nice though, if we all did our small part.


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sexy Tears?

I think about being sexy, and how it would be nice if I could perpetually exist in a sexy zone where I exude pheromones that make men fall to their knees.  I have probably spent thousands of dollars buying perfumes and hair products and make-up all in the hopes of being as sexy as I can be.

But now I've been told that even if I'm wearing the sexiest boots with the most sensuous black skirt, if my eyes water with tears, even tears of joy, I will negate all my sexy effort.

You probably worry about your clothes being sexy, your shoes, your hair, but what about your tears?

OK, you may have heard of this study they did recently that says that men are turned off by women's tears. The thing that women are asking is, who would first of all, fund such a study?  And for what purpose?  Secondly, are women trying to be sexy when they sob, are they even interested in sex when tears are flowing from their eyes?

Is it just me, or does it seem like everything in this world has to be sexy these days?  We can't just leave crying to be an emotional event, it has to be graded on the sexy scale.

Remember that song by Right Said Fred that went something like, "I'm too sexy for my..." and you could put anything in there.  I'm too sexy for my cat, too sexy for my hat, too sexy it hurts.  He was talking about models acting as if they were so sexy nothing could touch them, they acted as if they were too sexy for life itself.

Is that what we are supposed to be?

With the proliferation of Internet pornography, it is so easily accessible that almost every man divulges in it from time to time. I'm sure women do as well.  The images in pornography suggest that the actors are "too sexy" for their own good as well.  The women's boobs are too big, the men's packages are too large and everyone has a fake tan.

How are real human beings supposed to compare to this?

To top it off a lot of men I know watch Internet porn at least once a day.  How is a real woman supposed to compete with a quick fix like porn that is infused with unreal bodies?

The truth is we men and women, are not always sexy.  We do things on a regular basis that are not sexy at all.

Why are we expected to live by a standard that even our tears should be evaluated as sexy or not?

They say that men think about sex every like six seconds or something.  I think this may be an urban myth as well, and men are not thinking about sex as often as we are told.  I mean how would they get any work done? How would they have a conversation or concentrate on anything else in life?

Why don't they do a study about how men's obsession with sex makes women cry?

It is true that evolutionarily the people who have evolved are the ones that have procreated the most or the best, but we are more than an evolutionary explanation.

However if you paid attention to all the images we see on television, magazines and other media outlets, it's not like you could tell that we are anything but sexual beings.

Yet the real question is, with all this talk about sex, how much sex is the average person having?  In the beginning of any relationship sex is probably pretty regular.  But once you have been with someone over the course of some time, sex becomes less and less frequent.  I think that the average person, whether married or not, is not having tons and tons of sex on a regular basis.

Why is life so much less sexy than we want it to be?

Probably because we are slaughtered with the idea that life is supposed to be sexy, and when our life or our partner doesn't live up to some bizarre ideal we start to feel less sexy.

After all, the real measure of whether someone is sexy is whether or not they feel sexy.  It's hard to feel this way when you can't live up to the sexy standards of the universe.  And I think that half of sexy is self-esteem.

When I'm crying, I don't want someone to necessarily get excited, I want love, companionship, all the other things that come with a relationship.  Although I know for a fact that the study needs to be evaluated because many people have had sexual intercourse after a very emotional outbreak that included tears.

I happen to find a man crying to be very sexy.  I think it's beautiful to see anyone release real feeling.

Another problem with this study is that it is going against the idea that we as human beings are allowed to experience and share our pain with each other.  This is especially difficult for men to do, so I understand why tears might not turn them on, but at the same time, as a culture we need to help men get in touch with their tears.  I'm sorry if that sounds corny.

So ask yourself this:  Are you too sexy for your tears?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Crazy Killing

OK, I have a problem with the media coverage of this Arizona shooter. Allegedly he is mentally ill.

Let me ask you this?  When was the last time you heard of a mad man with a gun shooting people?  It's been a while right?  Mostly, the people who shoot other people are "sane."  Or to be more exact, they don't suffer from any known mental illness.

However why is it that when one man is mentally ill and makes a commotion by killing all these people, now there are articles all over the place about how to detect if someone is mentally ill?

I think it's a lot more important to detect if someone is violent rather than if they are mentally ill.  Perfectly sane people beat their wives, beat their children, get into bar fights, and then we are shocked when they shoot someone with a gun.

The percentage of people who are mentally ill who will actually harm another person are probably the same as the percentage of people who are sane that will harm another individual.  In fact I can bet you that most crimes are committed by perfectly sane people.

So how do you detect whether someone is gonna pull out a gun and kill you?  You can't really.

I mean if we are talking about people you don't know, complete strangers killing you, there is no real way to tell.  But if it is someone you know, there are always signs.  I don't know what those signs are, I don't hang out with violent people, but I assume that they have something very eerie about them that suggests that they may turn on you any second.

You know that guy that killed John Lennon and the guy that tried to kill Reagan were both obsessed with the book Catcher in the Rye.  Perhaps we should ban this book now, because it is narcissistic and shows a main characters who only cares about himself.

The thing is, that would be an absurd thing to do.  We cannot psychoanalyze killers with our pop-psychology.

Killers are all crazy.  It is crazy to kill.

Whether or not they have a "mental illness"  is irrelevant.  The act of killing itself is an insane act.

Just because every now and then a mentally ill person kills, does not mean that all mentally ill people are killers.

I may have a partial viewpoint about this because I have a mental illness. But I guarantee you that most of the people that I have met who suffer from mental illnesses are much more likely to hurt themselves rather than hurt anyone else.

The thing is that people like to either romanticize or demonize mental illness.  Either he's so crazy he's a genius or he's so crazy he's dangerous. But mostly, mentally ill people are oddly normal.  We are your waitresses, your teachers, and even doctors.  We are your autistic children, and even your presidents have suffered from mental illness.

Don't write us off just yet, we are your friends.


Thursday, January 13, 2011


What's your most embarrassing moments growing up? I'll tell you mine.

Well first of all this was beyond embarrassing, it was hurtful.  When I was in kindergarten I had a sweating problem of some kind, and these kids would chase me around the schoolyard yelling, "Stinky Nina."  I guess you can imagine how devastated I was that this was happening.  I don't remember how terrible it was, I think I sort of blocked it out, but I can imagine the psychology of someone who is being teased in this way over and over.

The second incident happened in like third grade I think.  It was my friend's birthday party and she was one of the cool kids so I was really excited to go and I really wanted to impress her.  So the thing is, I had to take a gift and my mother decided that she would not buy me anything brand new.  She had bought this cooler, yeah a cooler you would take on a picnic, an actual cooler, that she thought would be a perfect gift.

It was huge.  It was the biggest gift at the party.  Everyone was staring at it and staring at me.  "Nina, we'll open your gift last because it's the biggest!" my other friend shouted.  I couldn't look at her or anyone, I wanted to die.  I cringed as my friend opened her normal gifts from her other friends.  Not only was I the only person of color at the party I was the only person with a cooler.  Everyone else bought her cool stuff, I got her something she could cool stuff in.  It was tragic, it was the end of my social life as I knew it.

Finally when they got to my gift, everyone was sooo excited to open it.  She slowly unwrapped it and was like, "It's a cooler."  She didn't know what to say.  Everyone kind of looked at me a little funny. Even her mother said something like, "You got her a cooler?"  Her mother's friend had gotten my friend really awesome like teen magazines and all this cool stuff and she was like forty.  My gift wasn't even cool enough for a forty year old, I was mortified.

The third most embarrassing thing to happen to me as a kid was when I tried out for the school musical when I was fifteen.  I was a loser freshman and decided that I wouldn't try out for the chorus like a normal person with no talent whatsoever would, instead I decided to try out for the role as the main character.  I don't remember what the play was or what the name of the characters was, which is indicative of how much I studied for this part before going on stage in front of a bunch of talented people.

For starters I had forgotten how to read music from my trumpet playing days, so I when I practiced singing I just sort of made up a tune in my head.  Did you hear what I said, I made up a tune?  I was the stupidest little freshman that ever existed.

I went up there and in my high pitched voice, I stared singing words that no one could make out to a tune that I had made up.  The director of the play stopped me.  "I'm sorry," he said.  "I don't know which song you are singing."  I was more than mortified this time.  I told him which song, and I began singing, my own made up tune to these words that I was slaughtering with my high pitched horrible voice.

I saw a few people in the corner of my eye smile in this way that they couldn't believe what was happening.  I wasn't sure what was happening.  I went through the rest of the audition like a zombie.  I couldn't follow the dance steps for the dancing part, I didn't know how to inflect for the reading part where the main character was speaking.  All in all it was a travesty.

I have no lesson to give you here, I have no idea what these moments taught me.  I do know that I would never want to relive them.  I would never want my worst enemy to live them.

Thank god that's all over.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

"Happiness is just an Illusion, Filled with Sadness and Confusion"

"One person is grateful and appreciative in life when they have many a struggle to deal with; another person constantly compares themselves to others and is discontent in life when they seemingly have nothing to complain about- thoughts on what provokes either tendency?"

Why are some people happy and some people not?  I would like to say it is the way you are raised, but I wasn't raised to be happy, I was raised to be successful.  When I was a kid if I told my dad I wanted to be a teacher or an actress or something, he would say, "No, you will become a doctor." As you can see that method really worked well with me. I somehow turned out to be the kind of person that is constantly striving for happiness.

I am amazed sometimes at people whose life seems smooth sailing, yet they are not sailing through it.  It could be that we don't really know what happens behind closed doors.  But there is also an element that if you haven't had hard times in your life while growing up they are harder to take when you do grow up.

I mean come on, some people should just be happy.  I mean I don't know, who am I to judge?  I grew up pretty privileged.  But then the shit began to hit the fan in my life as a teenager.

The first sign that it was all over was when I had my year of zits when I was sixteen.  I'm not even kidding, it was so tragic for me.  I was so vain and then suddenly I couldn't look in the mirror without cringing.  Thank god the acne went away without scars.

Then, my father started actually going blind.  That was the worst part of my life.  Of course it didn't help when my mother was falsely accused in a lawsuit.

Things were actually a lot worse then I'm making them sound because I'm just not gonna tell you the really personal details, but it got ugly, very ugly.  But I was always, even in my darkest moments, I had this weird optimism that everything was gonna be alright.    I used to tell my parents that anyone living in the slums of Detroit who saw their beautiful home would laugh at their problems.  My parents didn't think it was funny.

Did we have a lot of problems, yeah, but we also had a lot of support and love.  We stood by each other, and that's why I can get through shit, because I know my family and friends always have my back.

I carried this optimism with me during 911.  I know, I've heard, that people in the suburbs were upset.  I was in New York when it happened and I didn't cry until about a week after it happened, when I went to a candlelight vigil for some of the victims.  I wasn't on medication at the time, so I can't blame that for me not being completely sensitive to what was happening.

There was only one thing I knew:  I had to survive.  I had just been diagnosed with Manic Depression at the time and was ignoring the diagnosis, but knew in the back of my head that I was a vulnerable person.  I didn't go down to the site until months later, until I knew I was ready.  I was so strong, I'm so proud of myself.  Of course a few months later I did have a mental breakdown that could have been partly caused by the stress of living in a place that was so scared and depressed.

But let me tell you something, you would have been strong too.  You may have later fallen down on your knees too.  You don't know what you are capable of until you go through it.  But I haven't answered the question as to why some people crumble while others soar.

I had a friend who walked from the site on 911 and was so badly covered with soot that people were staring at him and crying.  He lost some people, but he didn't lose himself.  He was one of the most jovial people I knew during that time.  

I think that if you were watching all of this on T.V. and you were more upset than I was, you should evaluate some things.  First of all why are you so upset about something that doesn't directly affect you?  If you lost someone during 911 that's a different story, you the right to be as upset as you fucking want to be.  But if you are just upset because of images you saw on T.V. you should think about how the media is affecting your brain.

I think the media wanted you to be upset so you kept tuned in.  I think the government wanted you to be upset so you would support their wars.  Yes, it was a tragedy and since anyone at all could have been a target, we were all targets.  But if you couldn't get through your day without weeping or having some kind of panic because of it, think about what you were really upset about.

I guess the question is, why did some people sail through 911 and some people fell down?  I don't really know, as you can probably tell at this point.  I am exploring the idea with you, not for you.  I think I did both, I was strong until a point and then some other stuff happened in my life and it was all too much for me.  I don't blame the terrorists alone though.

You know a lot of people with Mental Illnesses who don't take their medication end up on the streets.  That could have been me.  I made it because I had love in my life whereas other people who did not, may not have had that kind of support.

Was their something inside me that made me get through it all and still I hope come out OK?  Yeah, I have a very strong belief in the good.  You can call it god if you want, you can call it a positive force in the universe, you can call it godot.  In the play, Waiting for Godot, God comes to these guys in the form of people while they are waiting for some supreme being to arrive.

God didn't show his face to me, instead there were gods all around me, including my doctors and therapists, that saved me.  And some of it is luck as well.  I have a disease that happens to have a cure: medication.  There are many people who cannot get through their lives because they have a disease that has no cure.

But what about those people with nothing to be upset about?  I think that they have too much time on their hands to be upset about little things because they don't have to concentrate on anything real.  They are petty and small and probably don't deserve happiness.

I don't mean to be mean, but come on.  If you've got it all, at least be happy.  Do it for the rest of us, if not for yourself.

And if you've got some troubles, and you can't get through it, remember somebody has it worse than you and they are getting through it.


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Adult Content

Ummm, is it just me or do you not feel like an actual adult sometimes?  I swear it was just yesterday that we were playing with our friends, laughing our heads off at nothing, and ignoring our parents.

I mean most likely you are not depending on your parents for much anymore, but why do I sometimes dread that phone call from them, the one where they ask you all these questions about what you are doing with your life?  Why is it harder to ignore them now then it was then?

The other day, I even told my father how much money I had in my bank account.  I don't think I should do that anymore.  He told me I was spending too much.  I don't necessarily think he's right, but he's a tiny bit right.

However, when does all this stop being their business?  I'm in a little bit of a different situation than most people because as a full fledged adult, I lived with my parents for like four years. It was a long four years and I just moved out.  We are all still getting used to this.

I love my parents to death, but we have to understand that there are boundaries.

They actually don't read my writing.  I'm dreading the day when they do read my novel or this very blog.  They are going to be soooo  irrationally upset and they are going to make me irrational and upset.  I will act like a bratty kid.  I knew it would happen one day though, with my writing, I knew one day they would be ridiculously inflamed by it.  I was just hoping I'd be rich and famous by then.

Is it just me or do all of your relatives give you an inferiority complex?  This partly may be unique to the Indian culture, I don't know, I only have Indian parents.  But the questions after questions become so mundane.  When are you getting married?  When are you gonna have a real career?  What is this writing thing?  If you are gonna write can't you write a children's book like Harry Potter, the woman who wrote that is richer than the Queen of England?  Etc.,etc., etc.

I don't write or read children's literature, but I still feel like a child on occasion.  In general, don't you still feel kinda young?  I mean, however old you are, don't you feel like you are a kid sometimes?  Don't you want to play and nap and have recess?

When exactly did I become an actual adult?  Was it when I started college, 'cause I was naive, innocent and green then.  Was it when I graduated from undergrad and ventured out on my own to D.C. knowing no one and having nothing?  Was it when I graduated from grad school with a completed novel that was my thesis?  At what point did I stop having my childlike innocence?  

I don't think I have lost my innocence completely.  I have lost a little bit of it, maybe even a huge chunk of it, but I still have a childlike wonder about me.  I try not to take everything too seriously.  I know there are things that are serious, too serious, but even those I take with a grain of salt.  I am an adult, but I haven't killed the kid inside me.

We kids are gonna rule the world pretty soon, you know.

John Mayer put it very elegantly, "One day our generation, is gonna rule the population."  Is it just me, or do you have trouble actually seeing that happen?  Imagine someone you went to high school with becoming president.  There was one chic I went to school with who I know will make it big someday, but even that seems crazy to me now.

It's crazy to me that people that are in their thirties will be the movers and shakers of our time.  It wasn't that long ago that we were pinning our jeans to create a "tapered" look.  I mean come on, I used to wear shoulder pads for no apparent reason.

I am aware that fashion mistakes don't define an era, yet I'm just saying that my generation doesn't seem "adult" enough to run this country, or this world.

But we will.  I mean we are all gonna be forty soon, if we haven't turned that already.  Forty, for godsakes, I thought of that as so damn old.  I mean it's so strange to me that people my age will be running the churches and temples and Gurdwaras.  Aren't we gonna change something when we do have power?

Or are we gonna become like our parents generation?  Are we gonna keep the status quo going?


But hopefully I'm gonna personally try not to turn into my parents.  Although the things that my parents did were beyond what most adults can accomplish because they were immigrants.  Imagine going to like China, starting your life over not knowing anyone or anything and making it there, having a better lifestyle than most Chinese people.  That's what my parents did when they came from India to America.

My parents are great people, they really are, and I owe them my life, but I want a different life than they had.   I want to be a different kind of adult.  We all want to do better than our parents generation financially, but how about emotionally?

I just want to be more content than my parents are.  I want to be happier.  I may not be richer than them or live in a bigger house than they do, but I want to appreciate my life more than they did.

They are not unhappy, but my parents in particular were always concerned about everyone else's happiness other than their own, they still are.

I need to be a kid again in order to be the kind of adult I want to be.  Look I still have bills to pay, I have student debt that would alarm most people, I have career issues, and lack of boyfriend issues, and issues with my very sanity.

But still I want to forget about all that and just be.  It's not easy, I wake up at like five every morning first with this alarm in my head about what my day will bring.  Sometimes I get up and try to write it away.  Sometimes I go back to sleep and try to dream it away.  Either way, I'm still scared of what the day will bring.

However, much like you, I'm trying to be more of the kind of adult I can respect.  I work hard, damn hard.  It's hard to express my feelings and thoughts in public every day.  It's hard to even come up with feelings and thoughts to share.  But I do it because I have to.  I have to because this is the nature of my work.

I know you work hard, you dream hard, and you have fallen hard at at times.  We all have.  They say a girl  becomes a woman when she gets her period.  I would agree with that.  I think a person becomes an adult the minute they can bear children and have the ability to take responsibility for their actions.  However there are people who are past Menopause who do not to act like adults.

It's all relative.

When you are an adolescent you are really in the process of becoming an adult.  When you are an old person sometimes you regress and forget you are an adult.  I am fully grown now.  Yet still sometimes I want to play pretend.  I want to pretend like I'm a totally different person than I am.  A person who has all the things I long for.  Sometimes I feel like I am pretending like I'm an adult.  I can't believe the acrobatics I have to do just to survive.

To enter certain websites you have to be an adult.  Some of these websites are nasty, some of them are informative. I may not put a warning label on this website, but I do think you have to be an adult, a real adult to understand what I'm saying, in general.

The adult in you knows what I'm saying.  The kid in you would rather go outside and play.

Let's find a balance.


Sunday, January 9, 2011

Fake Friendship

I was hurt at first.  I noticed that I sent out my blog about my views on Spirituality and Sikhism to a few Sikh "friends" on Facebook to see what they thought.  I mean, I know I'm not traditional, but I'm also not the most offensive person alive. I was defriended  by one Sikh chic who friended me first.  Then another guy, I posted a link to my blog on his wall and he removed it and never commented to me on it.  The rest of the Sikhs I sent my link to did not comment.

I think that's weak.  Sikhs are supposed to be strong.  You see, I made it really difficult for the religious people who don't like me to ban me.  They know that's a stupid idea.  So it's now sort of just silence.

Some of the people who made no comment I think just don't know what to say.  But the others:

I'm twisting "their" religion in their eyes.  I don't understand anything about what "their" Guru said.  I'm not one of them.

How dare I, how dare I disagree with their beliefs and have the gall to be publicly displaying my thoughts? What if I get through to some people who are not Sikh and they start to get this distorted view of Sikhism?  And what about impressionable young kids?  I imagine these are some of their thoughts.

I don't care.

I take that back, I do care that there are people who are so closed minded that they become fanatical fundamentalists who cannot see anything but their own perspective.  I care that these people have power in the world. I care that they think they are "good."  I care that they usually do things that are not.

I'm honored though, that someone would think that I'm a force to be reckoned with.  That someone would think that ignoring and de-friending me was the way to maybe ensure that I don't try and shake things up.

I think things need to be shook up.  I will not shut up.  I don't care if you don't want to hear what I have to say.  There are people who do, I have found.  

So what's my plan.  To keep writing and writing and exploring my own thoughts, in public.  I sometimes am not even sure what I think about something until I write it down.  

I don't care how many friends I have.  I know who my friends are and I will find out for sure the more and more I keep displaying my true thoughts, which sometimes are not popular amongst some groups of people.  

I want to say this.  I am a Sikh.  I am not however, the poster girl for Sikhs.  I don't want to be the poster girl for anything.  But you have no right to take my identity from me because you don't think I'm a "good Sikh."  I don't think that's for you to decide. 

Sikhs as a group like to think they are so modern, progressive and open minded.  However if someone in their own community says something they don't like, a small minority have been known to even get violent.  Sadly, that is the dark side of our community.

The better side is the Sikh people I know that live and let live.  They are not always trying to prove that they are the "true believers."  They understand that "truth" is relative.

So if you have a problem with what I'm saying, why don't you step up to the plate and say it to my face?  Why don't you say it in public?  What are you afraid of?

Tell me I'm crazy.  Tell me I'm stupid.  Don't just say nothing, that's just sad.

Let's open some debates.  We don't have to be "friends" or like each other, but we can agree to disagree.  That would be the adult thing to do.

Defriending someone is a bit childish, don't you think?


Saturday, January 8, 2011

The Beauty Myth

You've seen replicas of the Mona Lisa.  Did you ever notice that she is ugly.  I don't mean no disrespect to a heralded piece of art.  I just happen to think it's fascinating that back then a woman's face that was not "pretty" could have been considered so mesmerizing.  What was it about her that was considered so beautiful?  They say it was the look in her eyes.

I wish we could go back to a time where the look in your eyes could determine your physical beauty.  Now we are obsessed with size, and breasts, and the perfect nose.  It's possible that human beings have always been kinda superficial, but now that we have the mass media telling us what we "should" look like, it's a lot harder to feel like you personally size up.

If you are a woman and someone ever told you that you were "pretty," it was probably one of the most important compliments you got, especially when you were growing up.  If they dared to use the word "beautiful," well that is the jackpot of human worth.  Especially for a woman.  As the Counting Crows sang, "We all want something beautiful, man I wish I was beautiful."

When I was a girl I loved hanging out with black men because they loved Indian women, they thought I was beautiful and told me so.  Indian boys and other ethnic boys, I generally find, liked Indian girls as well but weren't as vocal about it.  But I remember in high school I had crush on a white guy who said he was not attracted to girls who weren't Caucasian.  I don't think sexual preference counts as racism, but I felt like shit when he told me that.  I didn't measure up to the pictures I saw in magazines and in my school's year book.

Now, as an adult I know a lot of white guys who are attracted to Indian women.  In fact it is starting to matter less and less as the years go by, what color you are.  It has become fashionable as of late to be "exotic."

In India fair skin is considered beautiful, maybe because of the British Rule, maybe it's been happening for centuries, there is much debate about this issue.  I happen to have fair skin, but I would personally be offended if someone found me attractive simply for that reason.  Yet I want to be considered beautiful just like the next woman.  So what is it exactly that I want?  For someone to not be attracted to me because or in spite of my skin color.

I did feel beautiful before I gained weight, now I feel less pretty.  My body has never measured up to size four standards.  Yet I'm blessed nevertheless to have a descent face.  I still wish I looked better, it's sad but I would like myself better if I looked better.  If I was thinner.  My own self love is based on some strange standard that makes no sense.

It doesn't make sense that thinness is a symbol of everything good.  You would think that a little fatness would be considered wealthy or something, you have money to eat.  But nowadays, fattening food is a lot cheaper than healthy food.  You have to have money to get thin.

A man once told me that men are taught to hate their bodies as well in this new culture.  The man's body is supposed to be not important, it's the woman's body that is the focus of attention.  Woman are given messages that their bodies must be a symbol of beauty, whereas men are told that their bodies are not capable of  gorgeousness.

Although everything I'm saying is exaggerated, some men are even as concerned about their body image as women, and vice versa.  Yet, women are put in this situation where they have trouble loving themselves if they don't fit particular beauty standards.  In the fifties, these standards were more laxed, I've heard that Marilyn Monroe was a size 12.  As Hugh Grants ex-girlfriend, what's her name, said something like, "God I would never let myself get that fat," after buying Marilyn Monroe's dress.

Today the standard of beauty is not usually humanly possible.  It's a rail thin woman with huge breasts, no wrinkles, a perfect nose and a perfect ass.  And I haven't really mentioned all the other standards that go along with this.

My own standards of beauty for myself can be harsh.  People wonder why I don't put pictures up on facebook or on my blog.  It really has more to do with vanity than insecurity.  I look terrible in photographs, something happens to my face when you put it backwards like the camera does.  It's freaky.  I would rather you imagine what I look like.

The things we do for beauty.  We remove unwanted hair from our ENTIRE body.  I even want to lazer it all because I'm tired of having to get rid of it. But in my religion, some of  my Sikh sisters believe that we are supposed to keep all of our hair.  I have great respect for them because they have given up vanity in order to follow something they believe in.  They haven't succumbed to the MAN-made notion that women are hairless.

Essentially I am a slave to this notion as are many of my girls.  We women take great pains to look like some kind of weird non-animal.  Like a statue or something.  All because men allegedly are very "Visual Beings."  If I hear about how men are so visual one more time, I will croak.

Hopefully I won't throw up though, like many of my sisters who throw up their food in order to remain thin.  Some of them starve themselves to the point that they need to be hospitalized

I personally don't have the same standards of beauty for men as I have for myself.  I've liked men who are not aesthetically pleasing, I've fallen in love with men who just had "something about them" instead of traditional good looks.  I like to think I fell for their charming minds or even their souls.  I like to think I have depth.

But the truth is I'm genetically designed to find a mate who can financially take care of me, hence the reason I like men who are intelligent, even brilliant.  Men are genetically designed to find a mate that will make healthy beautiful children or something.  I don't know if I really buy or get it.

I do know one thing though, if I had a superpower I would like to become invisible.  I'm tired of the visual game. I have been invisible before.  My father is blind due to a genetic disease.  In his presence I have been at times more real and more myself than in front of anyone else.  I am a being with thoughts and feelings to him, not an object to be looked at.  I know that almost every woman doesn't feel like an object in front of their father, however I think it's more pronounced when your father can't judge you physically in any way.

Although my father tells me everyday to go to the gym to get healthier, but I still feel slightly, oddly, like he knows only my insides.  He really truly loves me for who I am.

We could all be like this you know.  We could all close our eyes for minute and not look at each other, just listen.  Not worry about our zits and wrinkles and fat.  Now I have to worry that may hair may grow grey soon.

Getting older for a woman is especially hard, although it's hard for everyone.  Luckily I look young, knock on wood, but won't always look this way.  I will become wrinkly etc.  At some point, if I'm lucky, I will be a grandmother.  Then I will have to only concern myself with being loved for who I am as a person.

I'm gonna start now though, trying to love myself for who I am, not the size of my dress.  Elizabeth Hurley, I just remembered that woman's name who said Marilyn was fat.  Elizabeth is a strikingly beautiful woman but her boyfriend still had an affair with a prostitute.

So why are we going through all these pains anyways?  Again, we are being controlled by something other than our true nature.

Our minds are being controlled by a Myth.

The Myth is Mad.  And it's very Bad.


Friday, January 7, 2011

The Wonder Years

You know Thirty-Something was a show, a good show.  Although I was like a teenager when it came on so those people were old to me then.  Their problems with relationships and work and life were a little too adult for me.  Now I long for a television show that will show what my life is like.

They try these days, with reality T.V. to show you what life is really like.  However my life never seems like the Housewives of Atlanta.  They pick "special" people and put them in strange circumstances, like Survivor, in order to create something "real."  The shows that mimic reality fictionally, I find are more real than a show like The Bachelor or the bizarre shows on TLC that show like pregnant women who don't "know" their pregnant.

The truth is a lot stranger than fiction.

If you were in anything like me, you watched a lot of T.V. growing up.  Those were the days, huh?  It reminds me of a simpler time, when there were four channels, there was no reality T.V. and Geraldo introduced me to Drag Queens.  "We didn't have no Internet, but man I never will forget..."  Kid Rock was still a kid.  M&M was still a candy.

Now I realize that T.V. was always a little dumb, but I was partially raised by T.V., so does that make me a little dumber?  My attention span is sometimes as long as a commercial break but sometimes I can stretch it to a half-hour long sitcom.  The hour long dramas are great, but they take great concentration.  I often find myself needing to take commercial breaks in life, I spend a minute or two thinking about nothing or about buying something I don't need.

The introduction of Cable Television in my life was one of the pivotal points in my childhood.  My dad didn't want to get cable but the subdivision we moved into in Troy, Michigan when I was twelve didn't allow T.V. antennas. I discovered MTV then, that's when they used to actually play music.  I discovered hours and hours of stand up comedy that I would make sure my parents never saw me watching because comedians would always come to subject of sex.

There really was very little sex on T.V. when I was growing up.  In fact when I was a little girl I thought kissing was  sex because that's all they did on T.V.  Even on soap operas, which I started watching when I was a toddler, they used to be a lot more kosher than they are now.

But on the talk shows, I really learned about sex, drugs and rock and roll. I mean there were no rules on those talk shows and even though they weren't as raunchy as Jerry Springer, they were definitely a little racy.  I remember learning what a threesome was on Oprah, I learned what a Lesbian was by watching Geraldo, and I think Phil Donahue taught me how to dress provocative in order to lure a man.

I also learned a lot from regular T.V.  I learned quite a bit on The Facts of Life.  I learned about how to part my hair to the side and that my girlfriends will always be there for me, even when the men in my life come and go.  I learned a lot about "misunderstandings" from Three's Company, a little too much in fact.  I used to watch that with my parents every night, they thought it was a trip.  We would all laugh and laugh as Jack Tripper tripped on the carpet.  John Ritter recently passed, god rest his soul, he was like a boyfriend figure to me.  I wanted a guy like that.

I wasn't allowed, but secretly watched, "Fame."  My parents thought it was too adult for me.  They wouldn't let me watch the Love Boat as well, even though when they weren't home I was watching all kinds of twisted shit.

Nowadays, well they just don't make T.V. like they used to.  When I was in kindergarten, during nap time I would stay awake and dream that they would make a small T.V. that I could hold in my hand and watch episodes of Scooby-Doo.  My dreams have come true.  The only problem is, at the moment, I have not invested in a descent phone.  (My phone is so old school I think people think it's a brand new kind, it's the kind that comes free with the plan).

I didn't have a cell phone with a built-in T.V. when I was a kid.  I got my first cell phone when I was twenty-five.  If I could have watched The Smurfs at nap time when I was five, my kindergarten life would have been complete.  Instead I had to learn how Smurfette survived in a world of men every Saturday morning at six a.m.  Nowadays I actually sleep during nap time.  They say you should wake up in the morning and like close your eyes and meditate.  Or if you grew up like me, your mother was doing that while you were watching, Sheera, Princess of Power!

The Wonder Years, now that was a show.  The Wonder Years for me was in the Eighties and early Nineties.  That's when I still had my innocence.  At one point I didn't understand that I wasn't white, I was like eight.  A blond friend of mine asked me what my "kind" was and it shook me up.  I didn't understand what she meant.  I knew I was Indian, but I didn't know why it mattered so much.  I didn't think people noticed.  I think seeing a world of white people on T.V. had a lot to do with that.

There were no Indians on T.V. back then. But there was some good stuff. Do you remember 21 Jump Street, Johnny Depp's greatest work?  And then there was Bosom Buddies...that was Tom Hanks at his finest, in drag. I don't care how many Oscars that man wins, Bosum Buddies was his best work.

Ahh...those were the days.  Just tonight, a friend of mine didn't want to hang out with me, she wanted to watch Law and Order SVU instead.  I was ditched for a T.V. show.  I remember when I used to be that excited about T.V.  The only show I really like that has been on the air recently is Six Feet Under.  It's about death, but more about life.

Interestingly enough I'm watching T.V. at the moment.  It's more like the T.V. is on and I'm in the room.  The Office, a great show, is on right now. This is sort of my office.

Speaking of great shows, there is always trash T.V. like Jersey Shore and Celebrity Rehab.  These shows are so bad they're great.  They are the most fun to watch with friends so you can make fun of them and feel superior to these "weirdos."  

My life is different now that I don't watch that much T.V.  Unfortunately it's not as interesting as a Reality T.V. show, but it's probably better now that I stare at this computer rather than a television.  I switched screens is all. Instead of being addicted to television I'm now addicted to expressing my own thoughts on a computer.

I used to let the T.V. think for me.  I wonder, I wonder, who I would be without it.